Nadia and a few of the people campaigning for TUSC in Bevois ward. Photo: Southampton SP
Nadia and a few of the people campaigning for TUSC in Bevois ward. Photo: Southampton SP

Hannah Sell, Socialist Party general secretary

I had the privilege of being one of a team of Socialist Party members based in London, who headed to Southampton on 28 April to lend a hand in Nadia Ditta’s election campaign in Bevois ward. Throughout the streets of Newtown, Nadia’s local community, there were pink Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) posters in windows, whereas Labour’s were nowhere to be seen.

Door to door

Nadia took me door to door, asking the residents to explain to me, as general secretary of the Socialist Party, why they were voting for her. One man was more cautious. He explained that “the rest have all been useless, so we are giving you a chance, and seeing what you can do”.

Everyone else, however, has already experienced what Nadia can do in her campaigning, alongside others, against cuts and closures in her local community. “Look how her standing up for us has saved the Venny [children’s playground], and imagine what she’ll be able to do once she is on the council”, was a constant refrain.

All, however, recognised that Nadia didn’t save the playground on her own. She was part of a community struggle.

They understood that if Nadia is elected on 2 May, she will be able to bring their working-class community’s fight into the council chamber. But success will come from the mass campaigns she gives voice to.

The momentum of her campaign has already given confidence to Newtown, and that will continue whatever the result. Local people proudly told me how they had answered back when Labour canvassers dared to knock.

Some scornfully told me how Labour had recently spent a tiny bit more in the area, cleaning up the playground, for example. “But that shows they had the money all along, and have only done it because of Nadia”.

Labour too late

Another young woman derided Labour telling her that they now supported a ceasefire in Gaza. “You are 35,000 dead too late”, she told the canvasser.

Others applauded Nadia’s socialist policies, praising us for fighting for a £15-an-hour minimum wage, and rights at work. It was only one afternoon, but it gave a glimpse of how taking the fight for socialism into the council chambers, and parliament, will hugely raise the confidence of working-class people to fight.